Real estate firms cut jobs during the first quarter at the same pace as last year, but job losses in the mortgage lending industry nearly doubled for the period, according to a consulting firm that helps workers find new jobs.

Announced job cuts in the real estate industry totaled 1,149 during the first quarter, about the same as the 1,152 tracked during the same quarter of 2006 by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., a New York-based outplacement job consulting firm. There were 3,490 announced job cuts in real estate in 2006, Challenger said in an April 4 report.

Mortgage lenders announced 6,138 job cuts in the first quarter of 2007, compared with 3,497 in the same period last year, the report said. There were 12,874 announced job cuts in mortgage lending last year.

Announced job cuts in housing construction totaled 13,958 during the first quarter — more than double the 6,450 positions eliminated in all of 2006.

Announced first-quarter job cuts in all three housing related industries — real estate, mortgage lending and construction — totaled 21,245, rivaling the 22,814 jobs lost in all of 2006, the report said.

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